Preston, City of Darebin
Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country
The traditional relationship between client and architect is anchored by a brief which drives the scope and informs the parameters of the project. Where a project seeks consultation with external groups such as traditional owners, stakeholders and end users, rich and important opportunities are often revealed.
In turn these ideas require safeguarding throughout the lifecycle of the project, and the concept of non-negotiables recognises the importance of this safeguarding process. It is the role of the architect to facilitate this type of design mandate for the client and communicate to other third parties such as planning and building authorities.
Non-negotiables can be understood to sit in parallel with a client’s original brief, and offer a new layering once other voices are consulted. The Darebin Intercultural Centre established key project non-negotiables, opportunities that were highlighted through consultation with Cultural Stakeholders and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung traditional owners.
One such non-negotiable was making a space for ceremony.
The privatised, cellular interior of the colonial-era building was representative of the ideals and values of society when built
in 1893, and is clearly at odds with the intercultural centre’s ambitions for light, accessibility, inclusivity and diversity.
The spatial arrangements of this fortified interior were inherently inflexible, and do not allow contemporary or collective ceremonies to take place. The structural complexity of radically remodelling the interior walls required a significant allocation of the project budget, but the outcome achieved spatial flexibility and anticipated new forms of occupying space such as collective narrative circles.
Safeguarding and making a space for ceremony was an absolutely necessary non-negotiable for the project. By adding non-negotiables into the architectural process with equal importance to the brief and design we safeguard the ideals of a collective design outcome for everyone.